Casper-area recruiter gets jail for sexually exploiting teen
By JOSHUA WOLFSON
October 2, 2010
A judge sentenced a Casper-area National Guard recruiter to one year
in jail Friday for sexually exploiting a teenage girl who'd wanted to
join the military.
Because of the time he's already served, Martin Frank, 39, will
actually spend about six months behind bars before beginning five
years of probation. He also received a four- to eight-year suspended
Frank wept as he apologized to the girl, who watched the proceedings
from the back of a Natrona County District courtroom.
"I wish I could take everything back," he said.
When he pleaded guilty in July, Frank admitted to possessing
pornographic videos and photographs of the girl. The teen told
investigators she and Frank also engaged in sexual acts together at
his Casper home.
Addressing the court before the sentencing, the girl said Frank's
crime made her question herself and feel like she was nothing.
"I honestly can't trust the military," she told the court. "I've
tried to talk with other military recruiters and I can't do it."
The Star-Tribune does not identify the victims of sex crimes unless
they come forward outside of the courtroom.
The girl's mother also spoke during the hearing. She recalled how her
daughter had looked forward to serving in the military. Now she has
no ambition in school.
"She's hurt. She's angry," the woman said. "Someone she trusted a lot
has tore her up real bad."
Frank worked as a Wyoming National Guard recruiter prior to his
arrest. Before that, he escorted military convoys while deployed in
Iraq, his attorney, Tim Cotton, said.
In arguing for a sentence of probation, Cotton noted the girl was
only a few months shy of her 18th birthday at the time she and Frank
had a sexual encounter. There was no evidence, he added, that Frank
had coerced her.
"All indications are this was consensual relationship," the attorney said.
Grant Wilson, an instructor at Casper College, said was Frank a good
person, despite his mistakes.
"I've seen Marty be a very positive influence on the lives of many
young people," Wilson said.
In exchange for Frank's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to pursue
only a single count of sexual exploitation. They had initially
charged him with two crimes.
The plea deal didn't include an agreement on the length of the
sentence, but it meant Frank faced a maximum sentence of 10 years,
instead of 24.
Judge Thomas Sullins said he weighed Frank's willingness to accept
responsibility and his lack of criminal history with the impact the
crime had on the teenage victim. He called the case challenging from
a judge's perspective given the wide range of possible sentences.
Police arrested Frank in March after a friend of the victim accused
him of sending photographs "showing his manhood," to the teen.
In a subsequent interview, the girl told police Frank had used his
cell phone to photograph the two of them engaging in sexual acts.
Police later recovered images on the phone that appeared to show
sexual activity involving a teenage girl. Frank admitted to
exchanging text messages with the victim. He also said he had sent
the girl a nude photograph of himself, according to the police affidavit.
He asked to speak with an attorney when officers asked him whether he
had met the girl for a sexual encounter, the affidavit states.
Reach reporter Joshua Wolfson at (307) 266-0582 or at email@example.com.